Innovation That Matters

Immersive art history lessons for kids, dress-up included


Online video may now be the preferred medium for teaching today’s digitally savvy teens, but there’s no denying the perennial appeal of imagination and play for engaging young children. A new French company is putting that principle into practice with its art history lessons for kids, which involve putting on costumes and bringing the past to life. Launched last fall, Archimuse offers modules focusing on Renoir, Vermeer, Klimt and more for kids aged 5 to 11 years old. In addition to working from specialized books, lessons emphasize the historical context of each artist and the pertinent culture at the time. Frequently incorporated along the way are musical plays and tableaux in which children can dress up and play the part of key figures in the artist’s life. In learning about Vermeer, for instance, kids might take an imaginary journey to Delft in the 17th century, dress up in appropriate costumes and be immersed in a realistic scene. Each one-hour session with Archimuse is priced at EUR 4 per child. More than 3,000 children have already benefited from Archimuse’s lessons, which are available for use within schools. A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down, as the saying goes; where else could theater and play be used to engage and educate in new ways? (Related: Video app offers a humorous approach to learning FrenchUsing Skype, UK ‘granny cloud’ helps teach Indian childrenInteractive piggy bank teaches kids about money.) Spotted by: Marie Byers



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